In this activity, children recall items in sequence, from A to Z, as they play a game — especially appropriate for going places. Your family probably knows at least one version of the game Grandmother’s Trunk.

In the original game, one player starts by saying typically, In Grandmother’s trunk I found an afghan. The next player repeats what the first player has said, then adds a second item beginning with B: In Grandmother’s trunk I found an afghan and a bowtie. The third player repeats what the second player has said and adds a third item beginning with C: In Grandmother’s trunk I found an afghan, a bowtie, and a coat. The game continues as the players take turns repeating the sequence of items from memory before adding another item beginning with the next letter of the alphabet. If a player omits an item, he or she drops out of the game.

The game ends when there is only one player left or all the remaining players have correctly unpacked Grandmother’s trunk (or your familys suitcase) from A to Z. Your family may decide to assist one another so that all players remain in the game till the end. You can change the lead-in to reflect your family’s current activity or destination. For example, if you’re going camping, begin “We’re going on a camping trip and we’re taking along…” If you’re heading out to the supermarket, begin “We’re going to the supermarket and we’re going to buy…” You may want to add yet more alphabetical elements, as in this version which challenges vocabulary as well as memory: “I love my love with an A.” “I went to Alaska and bought her an alabaster apple.”